The body is your palace.
The heart is your queen.
The mind is your kingdom.
Each morning I write down an intention. One of the most recents is to take the responsibility of living the noble path. The above statements are what I wrote to myself. They sound grand but in reality it comes down to: do I eat spaghetti and feel horrible afterward or do I eat what I know to be non-poisonous and nutritious? The Noble Eightfold Path taught by Guatama Buddha is a functional tool. Everyday we're presented with a myriad of choices. Most of us stick to the usual. Some of us thrive to make practical or evidence-based choices which is difficult. You are dealing with delusion and cravings. Some try to do the right things by seeing medical experts who can't find a definite diagnosis or offer a medical cure. So, they continue to make the same wrong choices. I know I get unwell after eating grains and excess carbs. It's evident in my personal experience. Making the right choice is a battle between my conscience and my craving.
The noble path helps me win the fight agains what Patanjali's teaching of the Raja Yoga (also called Eight Limbs of yoga) calls Vikshepas or obstacles--negligence, illness, listlessness, cravings, delusion, doubt, laziness, inability to progress, and instability in maintaining progress. Raja or king yoga and the Noble Eightfold Path are greatly similar. Both have the foundation in ethical cultivation and purity of the heart. Both offer mindfulness and meditation as cultivations to insight. Because the world you live in is the same world that lives in you Sila (morality) and Palamee (pure heart) are simply pragmatic. The Wonder Woman said about us: "I glimpsed the darkness that lives within their light, and I learned that inside every one of them, there will always be both, a choice each must make for themselves, something no hero will ever defeat". I don't expect the war within to end or outside heroes--experts and authorities to save me. So, I best be equipped with the tools to both defend for and enlighten the world within and without.
During this past Sunday Flow class I offered the Metta prayer as an inspiration and aspiration for the practice and as a way to counter Vikshepas/obstacles. The lovingkindness prayer invokes peace, happiness, safety, awakening of the true nature, and freedom. Since the mind and body do not operate separately whatever you do in and around your palace of body affects your queen of heart and reflects your kingdom of mind. There're moments that the cravings and delusion defeat my conscience. Instead of beating myself up I simply get back on the path again. Expect that there'd be challenges and setbacks along the path. The nobility is in having the faith to continue as opposed to giving up. Like Raja yoga the noble path is a practical and proven method which mobilizes a practitioner toward freedom and liberation. The heroic path leads to physical ease and lovingkindness heart that is the movement to end mental suffering.
May your path open the kingdom of your conscience and may the nobility of wise view/intention/speech/effort/livelihood/action/mindfulness/concentration establishes firmly in you the health of body, purity of heart, and perfection of mind.